HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Ophelia is now officially a tropical storm and will strike the North Carolina coast on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Ophelia is expected to make landfall in North Carolina around 2 a.m. on Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds of 70 mph are being reported and the storm is moving north-northwest at 12 mph.

Storm Surge Warnings are in place for:

  • Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina to Chincoteague, Virginia
  • Chesapeake Bay south of Colonial Beach, Virginia
  • Neuse and Pamlico Rivers
  • Portions of Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations, according to the National Hurricane Center. This is a life-threatening situation. People in these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials.

Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect in:

  • Cape Fear, North Carolina to Fenwick Island, Delaware
  • Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds
  • Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island
  • Chesapeake Bay south of North Beach

Storm Surge Watches are in place for:

  • Surf City, North Carolina to Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina
  • Remainder of Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

Water could reach the following levels due to storm surges in these areas:

  • Neuse and Bay Rivers…3-5 feet
  • Pamlico and Pungo Rivers…3-5 feet
  • Chesapeake Bay south of Colonial Beach…2-4 feet
  • Surf City, NC to Chincoteague, VA…2-4 feet
  • Albemarle Sound…2-4 feet
  • South Santee River, SC to Surf City, NC…1-3 feet
  • Chincoteague, VA to Manasquan Inlet, NJ…1-3 feet
  • Upper Chesapeake Bay…1-3 feet
  • Delaware Bay…1-3 feet

Ophelia is currently forecasted to produce 3-5 inches of rainfall from Friday into Saturday. Some localized amounts of 7 inches of rain could be seen in portions of eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia.

There is also a possibility for tornadoes beginning Friday night through Saturday for portions of the mid-Atlantic coast.

The next advisory update will be at 5 p.m.

How will this affect the Triad?

Here in the Piedmont Triad, skies will transition from partly cloudy to mostly cloudy and highs are going to be in the mid-70s on Friday and rain will probably arrive around 10 p.m.

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Wind will be a noticeable issue starting this afternoon. Expect sustained winds between 14 and 16 mph with gusts between 20 and 25 mph from noon until midnight. After that, wind gusts increase to between 30 and 35 mph overnight. 

Showers are expected overnight and during the morning on Saturday. Rainfall totals will be between 1/3″ and 1/2″ with some localized spots getting 3/4″.

Showers and wind start to diminish by Saturday afternoon. Clouds are going to remain, so highs are going to be cool, in the mid-60s. We will see huge improvements on Sunday, with partly cloudy skies and highs returning to the mid-70s.